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I have been taking the D850 with the Sigma 150-600 (1.9kg) for a walk in the wild. Normally I use the strap on the lens to carry the camera hanging from my shoulder.

I realized that in many situations I was raising the gear on the camera only for the first moment until I could grab the lens with my other hand.

On a podcast by Tony and Chelsea Northrup on wildlife photography with a 500mm prime lens they mentioned that holding the camera only with a bigger lens attached may damage the mount.

Will raising the gear on the camera only damage the mount?

  • What does raising the gear mean? – Caleb Mar 26 '18 at 14:33
  • @Caleb Lifting it from hanging on the strap to ready to take photos. I didn't find a better wording for this – Alexander von Wernherr Mar 26 '18 at 16:48
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    Re: Raising a camera with a Super Telephoto lens. Don't leave them unsupervised until they are both at least about 8 years old and the oldest is at least 12. – Michael C Mar 26 '18 at 19:48
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    @MichaelClark thoughts on helicopter photoparenting or free-range photoparenting? – scottbb Mar 26 '18 at 20:34
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With a 2kg lens, I wouldn't expect any problems; and lenses heavier than that aren't for 'walkaround' use. Those 500 mm prime lenses you mentioned weight in general at least 4-5 kg, and even then they say "may damage the mount"

A lot depends on how you carry it by the camera. If the lens is vertical (pointing up or down), you won't have any problems with the camera mount (your arms/shoulders will probably complain before your camera).
If you carry the assembly with the lens horizontal, there's in theory more chance of problems with a really heavy lens. Not because of the weight in itself, but because of the torque (rotational force) it exerts, especially when there's any kind of acceleration involved. But in practice, in the case you describe, negligable.

Taking pictures is a different story, there you will want to support the lens, and not just the camera: having that 2kg well in front of the support is going to make it next to impossible to keep the camera steady. Even a good tripod will have trouble (that's why heavier lenses have a support collar on the lens).

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  • The Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS II weighs in at 3.2kg (The older first IS version was 3.9kg). The Sigma 150-600 C is just under 2kg, the Sigma 150-600 S is 2.9kg. Not a lot of difference between the Sigma S and the 500/4 prime. – Michael C Mar 26 '18 at 19:37
  • OP mentions the weight in his post (1.9kg). so still 50% extra weight and a "may" qualifier... – remco Mar 26 '18 at 19:58
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Who knows? Manufacturers don't publish maximum torque specifications.

I wouldn't worry about it.

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